Legendary New York-based, Serbian performance art queen Marina Abramovic will soon be welcomed to Australia on a dual-city residency Down Under – with an eleven day-long appearance at Walsh Bay in Sydney, and a four month-long exhibition at MONA in Hobart.
But a third and landmark exhibition in Australia, scheduled to take place in 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney, has now been cancelled, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The exhibition, intended as a sweeping retrospective of Marina Abramovic’s life work, would have included unseen work from the artist’s archive, as well as Nightsea Crossing, the work which arguably shot Abramovic to fame in the 80’s, during her performance work at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1981—following her career-shaping visit to Western Australia.
In a statement, Abramovic apologised, claiming a dispute from trustees over the amount of her work being shown in Australia effectively cemented the decision:
“I’m so sorry. They say that it is complicated. One reason was there were two exhibitions in Australia. It was too much to make a third one. The trustees they didn’t want any more.”
A spokesperson for the MCA confirmed the retrospective’s cancellation.
“Unfortunately, our Marina Abramovic exhibition is no longer happening, for a number of reasons outside of our control. The MCA had initial discussions with the artist and her studio, but with her other commitments in Sydney and Hobart the show was not viable. No public money was spent.”
In a further statement to Fairfax Media, Abramovic expressed her regret at the retrospective’s cancellation, citing the never-before-seen work which will now not be shown: “I was keeping so much of my diaries and so many things that I never publish and I never show anyone,” the artist said.
With today’s news, it only means that scheduling time for Abramovic’s exhibitions in Australia this year is even more pressing. Private Archaelogy will show at the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, from 13 June to 5 October. Marina Abramovic: In Residence is at Pier 2/3, Sydney, from 24 June to 5 July.
Lead image by Michael Loccisano via Getty.